By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Apr 02, 2011 at 5:08 AM

Green Bay is one of the state's most popular travel destinations... on a Sunday during football season.

But despite the fact that the Packers have been at home polishing their Super Bowl rings for months, there are still plenty of reasons to make the short drive north on I-43.

If you have never taken the time to explore anything in Green Bay beyond the confines of the Lambeau Field parking lot you are missing out on a bustling little city with enough delicious food, and off-season entertainment options to satisfy anyone looking for a quick and affordable weekend getaway.

A recent trip to the city sitting at at the mouth of the Fox River revealed plenty of the charms that had nothing to do with the Green and Gold.

Lodging pick:

St. Brendan's Inn, 234 S. Washington Street: Located on the eastern shore of the Fox River, this Irish themed restaurant, pub and inn is conveniently located downtown within walking distance to the bulk of the city's nightlife destinations. The 28 rooms for rent feature heirloom maple furniture, in-room whirlpool baths and walk-in rainfall showers with nightly rates starting at $119.50. Weekend guests would be wise to make dinner reservations as the restaurant and it's contemporary Irish fare is one of the city's top places to grab a bite. Should you desire a night cap the pub stays open until 2 a.m. And was filled with locals and travelers alike during our visit.

Food picks:

Jake's Pizza, 1149 Main Street: There are definitely fancier places to eat in Green Bay and its location adjacent to a strip club makes for a somewhat awkward family destination, but if you are looking for one of the best slices of pizza in Wisconsin locals will tell you this is the place.

Kroll's West, 1990 S. Ridge Road: Located right across the street from Lambeau Field, Kroll's has been operating on one location or another for more than 70 years. Their "signature wall" boasts celebrity endorsements from a who's who of the Packers, and it's charbroiled burgers are the stuff of legend.

Hinterland, 313 Dousman Street: For more refined fare Hinterland's original Green Bay location is a top destination. Using local growers to get the freshest seasonal ingredients Hinterland's ever evolving menu offers the areas best and most adventurous contemporary American cuisine that begs to be paired with one of it's delicious micro-brews or a glass off it's extensive sizable wine list.

Republic Chophouse, 218 N. Adams Street: You could plop this place down in any of Milwaukee's most fashionable stretches. It's sleek modern design make it a great place to order a tender and delicious steak, or to just grab a drink.

Al's Hamburger Shop, 131 S. Washington Street: This hole in the wall burger and breakfast joint is a tight squeeze, and with a long counter and just a handful of booths it fills up quickly. But the simple food and timeless atmosphere make it a great place to sip a cup of coffee and catch up on the local news with the joint's regulars.

The Spice and Tea Exchange, 784 W. Willard Ave.: Foodies will love the huge and aromatic assortment of spices from around the globe, along with hand-mixed rubs, a variety of sea salts, teas, natural sugars, and other gourmet gifts and accessories.

Drink Picks:

Captain's Walk Winery, 345 S. Adams Street: Located inside a beautiful three two-story home near downtown the winery offers daily tastings of its small batch wines. And for as small a purchase as two bottles of wine per hour you and your friends can reserve the winery's comfortable private lounge for a hangout spot with a warm and unique atmosphere.

Crunchy Frog, 301 S. Broadway: On the opposite end of the spectrum is the Crunchy Frog, a rock n' roll dive bar that draws a younger crowd, has a great juke box and hosts live music on a regular basis. Think of it as Cactus Club north, that is if Cactus Club offered a baffling weekly all-you-can-drink domestic tap beer and rail liquor special for just $10.

The Nines, 121 S. Washington Street: This downtown cocktail lounge offers an upscale but casual atmosphere and a delicious martini list. Not a lot of overlap between this place and the Crunchy Frog, but if you wanted to order a Coors Light and happen to be wearing a Packers jersey you get the feeling the friendly bartenders wouldn't turn their noses up.

Titletown Brewing Company, 200 Dousman Street: With a delicious line of craft brews and an inspired pub menu, Titletown is definitely worth a stop. And don't forget to try a mug of Sno-Cap root beer, a family recipe that used to be served at the old Sno-Cap drive-in restaurant on Velp Avenue.

Entertainment picks:

Neville Public Museum, 210 Museum Place: Permanent exhibits on the Packers roll in the community, looks at 12,000 years of northeastern Wisconsin history and a room dedicated to hands on science, art and history activities for children make this a nice stop for the whole family. Two current temporary exhibits on Dinosaur eggs, and the regions role in the Civil War demonstrate the kind of wide ranging but quality programming the museum offers.

Heritage Hill State Historic Park, 2640 S. Webster Ave.: Visitors are invited to explore historic buildings from various periods of Northeastern Wisconsin's history at this 48-acre open-air park and interact with interpreters who bring the bygone eras to life. The buildings range from log cabins from the fur trade era, buildings from a 19th Century Army Fort, and other historic stores and public buildings.

Meyer Theatre, 117 S, Washington Ave.: Originally opened as one of the many Fox Theaters to spring up across the country, the Meyer Theatre and its heavily textured plaster, decorative columns with gold leaf, intricate painted designs and statues that adorn the building have been splendidly restored along with its 572 pipe Wurlitzer Organ. Programming includes everything from ballet and comedy to touring musicians.

New Zoo, 4378 Reforestation Road: The New Zoo offers daily giraffe feeding and a variety of animals, from regionally occurring species like white tail deer and black bears to penguins and wallabies.

Packers Hall of Fame, 1265 Lombardi Avenue: OK, so a trip to Green Bay just wouldn't be complete without at least one stop by Lambeau Field, even in the off season. The 25,000 square foot hall of fame is filled with nearly 80 exhibits including Super Bowl trophies, a re-creation of Vince Lombardi's office and hundreds of other images and artifacts from the team's storied history.